Sales is a numbers game, so if a high volume of appointments isn’t turning into a high sales volume, something is off. No, you can’t expect most meetings to turn into a sale, but you need to recognize when meetings are a waste of time. And what if you can prevent time-wasting appointments from the beginning? You can, and the way to do it is to pick up on early warning signs your prospects aren’t interested.
Let’s talk about the hints people drop when they’re not interested. In the end, we’ll go over how to deal when you notice them.
2 Major Verbal Warning Signs
Warning Sign # 1 – Non-Committal Language
If your prospect uses phrases like “I should be available” or “We might be able to,” that should stand out to you.
It’s especially important when you’re setting appointments or deadlines. “Should” or “Might” aren’t commitments. They don’t mean “I will,” and they certainly don’t mean “Yes.” When someone uses these words with you, they don’t intend to keep their word and are more likely to flake on you.
Whether they realize it or not, you need to pick up on these queues. This person may not be sure how to tell you “no” or may not want to be impolite. Find a diplomatic way to find out if this is the case. Even though it might seem you’re putting the prospect on the spot, they might be grateful that you gave them the chance to say “no” and avoid unwanted follow-ups. This friendly exchange will also allow you to avoid wasting time, no-shows, or ghosting.
Warning Sign # 2 – Price-Focused Questions
Your prospect may have budgetary concerns and genuinely want to save your time and theirs. However, if the conversation centers around pricing, that is a flag. It’s especially telling if they don’t care to learn about your service or company and just want to get to the bottom line.
You might also get prospects that want a written quote without having a meeting. They may be shopping around for the lowest rates. If you convince them to meet with you, be wary. They may understand that they need to go through the motions to get pricing. Try to vet this out during your meeting to avoid spending excessive amounts of time on a proposal that wasn’t going anywhere from the start.
3 Major Behavioral Warning Signs
Warning Sign # 3 – Appointment No-Shows
You’ve fined-tuned your cold-calling process, and now, it’s easy to get appointments with prospects. Congratulations!
Your sales should be rocking, but what if they’re not? Getting meetings is fantastic, but if they aren’t showing up, something is wrong. One of the harshest warning signs your prospects aren’t interested is a no-show. Sure, there is a chance they got a flat tire or even dropped their cell phone in the pool. Those could be the reasons for their no-show.
But it’s more likely that the REAL reason is that they didn’t enough interest from the start, or maybe they changed their mind. To prevent appointment no-shows, qualify the appointment well from the beginning. You’ll also need to have an effective appointment reminder system in place.
Warning Sign # 4 – Unwillingness to Share Information
From the start, if the prospect doesn’t want to share necessary contact information like:
- First and Last Name
- Direct Phone Number
…they are not interested. How do you know? Because by not sharing basic information, they limit your ability to follow up with them. Why would they want to do that? Because they’re not that interested.
Ensuring you have necessary information ties into setting quality appointments and all steps of the sales and process. If you’re missing crucial pieces of information about your client, then you are not in control and will not be able to help them.
Warning Sign # 5 – Ambiguity
If they can’t tell you what the next steps are, one of two things is happening.
- They don’t want to tell you, and this falls under the unwillingness to share information behavior.
- They may not know what will happen next. It might be innocent, but not knowing leads to indecision.
This lack of clarity will stop you cold. Without understanding your prospects’ needs or process, you can’t guide them toward the right solution.
One way final decision-makers create ambiguity is by passing the buck. They may tell you that an executive assistant or lower-level management will be involved in the final decision and therefore be your contact person.
The underlying message is that your service is not important enough for them to speak with you again. It’s also more than likely that the assistant or lower-tier manager will not expect to have the final say and could put you off when you try to follow up.
In any relationship where there is a goal to accomplish, you don’t want ambiguity. When you detect uncertainty, you need to address it as early as possible. This way, you and the other party can move on, whether you do so jointly or separately.
Warning signs your prospects aren’t interested: What To Do?
When you sense your prospect isn’t interested, politely and directly bring it up early on. Don’t drag on with your process, and don’t waste your time hoping things will change.
If the warning signs are verbal, like in the examples of uncertainty or price-focused language, you must pause your pitch. Rather than convincing them why your product or service is best for them, you need to stop and ask questions.
Examples of addressing verbal warning signs from potential clients are:
“Bob, I noticed you’ve asked about the price several times. I don’t have enough information yet about your needs to give you an accurate price. Once I collect it from you, I’d need time to put together your proposal. To ensure we’re a fit for each other, can you tell me your budget range?”
“Thanks, Bob. You’re saying you should be able to meet with us this coming Friday. To be sure Friday will work, can you tell me if there’s anything that might prevent us from meeting if we set an appointment?”
Posing questions like these should open the dialogue to tell you if there are any doubts, issues, etc. If you don’t feel reassured by their answer, you may need to probe further or develop a plan that will prevent anyone from wasting their time. This might mean that they take time to evaluate their schedule/needs/budgets and contact you again when they have more clarity.
Behavioral warning signs from your prospects also need to be addressed. If the behavior appears when you’re outside of live interaction (for example, appointment no-shows), immediately review your internal process to see if it’s your approach that’s causing the behavior.
If the warning sign surfaces during a conversation with your prospects, you can address it in a friendly way.
You may start by saying something like, “Jill, I’m noticing your hesitation when it comes to explaining what the next steps in your process are. I understand every company does things differently. However, I need to understand where you stand with this project to develop the most appropriate proposal for you and your company. Can we talk about this a bit more so we can move forward?”
By Saving Your Prospect the Hassle, You’re Earning Respect
As you conduct sales and business development, lookout for the verbal and behavioral warning signs your prospects aren’t interested. You’ll be helping your prospects, and you’ll avoid time-wasting and frustration.
You’ll also have shown that you’re not only there for your benefit and that you have a genuine interest in helping. That’s the kind of consideration people don’t forget, and you will reap the reward for it!